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Russia tried to engineer Biden’s defeat in 2020: US intel

Washington: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his officials had sought to influence the 2020 US election by “denigrating” Joe Biden with “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” pushed through people close to Donald Trump, the US intelligence community said in a declassified report.

The intelligence report does not name any of these people, but Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of former president Trump, may have been among them, according to news reports.

He had had contacts with Russian agents during the time he pursued the attempt to implicate then presidential candidate Joe Biden in an unproven corruption scandal involving his son Hunter Biden’s business connections with a Ukrainian company.

The intelligence report, which is the first about the November election, also says the Russian operation was supportive of then president Trump, but unlike in 2016, “we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to the election infrastructure”.

Iran also conducted a “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” intended to “undercut” then president Trump, but it did not seek to directly promote his rivals, the report says.

The Russian influence operation was built around a central narrative, which the report says began taking shape back in 2014 during the Obama administration’s second term. It was basically an attempt to allege corrupt ties between Biden and his family with Ukraine. Russian intelligence banked on Ukrainian proxies to build this fiction, giving themselves room for deniability.

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International Latest News

US election: Putin dashes Trump’s Hunter Biden hopes

Washington: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter did ”made very good money in Ukraine” but Moscow is not aware of anything criminal about his past business.

Putin’s rejection of US President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Biden family business comes with almost a week to go for the US election 2020 on November 3.

Trump, who is trailing behind Biden in opinion polls, has used the debates to make accusations that Hunter Biden engaged in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

Putin appeared less friendly towards Trump in remarks broadcast by Russian state TV. In what may be seen by some analysts as an attempt to curry favor with the Biden camp, he took the time to knock down what he made clear he regarded as false allegations from Trump about the Bidens.

“Yes, in Ukraine he (Hunter Biden) had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” said Putin.

“But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this (being criminal).”

Putin also reacted with visible irritation when asked about comments Trump has made concerning Putin’s ties to the former mayor of Moscow, and to an alleged payment made to Hunter Biden by the ex-mayor’s widow. Putin said he knew nothing about the existence of any commercial relationship between Hunter and the woman. Joe Biden says the accusation about his son is not true.

US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election to tilt the contest in Trump’s favour, an allegation Moscow has denied. (WION NEWS)

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Latest News USA

Ocasio-Cortez wins NY primary elections

 New York: US Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has defeated her challengers in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District, in her first defense of the seat she claimed in a shocking victory two years ago.

“When I won in 2018, many dismissed our victory as a “fluke.” Our win was treated as an aberration, or my opponent “didn’t try.” So from the start, tonight’s race was important to me. Tonight we are proving that the people’s movement in NY isn’t an accident. It’s a mandate,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Her chief challenger in the primary was Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor who barely managed 20 percent of the ballots after a very intense campaign in which both candidates traded criticism, both political and personal, Efe news reported.

The final result of the election will be known only on June 30, when the votes by mail are counted.

The 30-year-old Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most well-known voices of the American political left since her 2018 victory.

With the victory in the primary, Ocasio-Cortez is virtually guaranteed to be re-elected in the November general elections given the overwhelming majority of Democratic voters in her constituency, which covers areas of the working class and the immigrant neighborhoods of Bronx and Queens.

Her primary victory in 2018 against 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, then the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, had surprised many.

A graduate of Boston University, Ocasio-Cortez was working behind the bar in a restaurant in New York’s Union Square when she launched her run.

She took office at 29 years old, making her the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress.

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Latest News USA

Biden berates ‘narcissist’ Trump

Washington: Mounting one of his most scathing attacks against Donald Trump, former US Vice President Joe Biden said the President’s narcissism has become more important than the nation’s well-being.

“He thinks division helps him,” Biden said in a speech at Philadelphia’s City Hall. “This narcissism has become more important than the nation’s well-being.”

Bashing Trump’s handling of the riots in the country following the murder of an African-American George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said: “the American people can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle, more interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.”

Biden’s comments came after police used tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters near the White House so that Trump, after finishing a speech during which he threatened to send in the military to quell the escalating chaos, could visit the St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he stood for a photo op.

Taking further digs at Trump for brandishing the Bible outside St John’s Church, Biden said the US President could have “learned something” from it rather than posing with it.

Protests over the death of George Floyd have escalated over the past week.

Dozens of people have been injured as authorities used tear gas and force to disperse protests which have swept more than 75 cities.

Four officers meanwhile were shot and injured on Monday night during unrest in St Louis, Missouri.

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